How to Win at Baccarat

Baccarat is that enigmatic card game you see in the movies — the game of high rollers in opulent casinos. But don’t let the game’s mystique intimidate you — it’s easy to learn and fun to play! Baccarat is a game of chance, but you can improve your chances of winning by following these simple tips.

The game’s rules are simple, although they can get a little complicated as the hand progresses. There are from seven to 14 seats for players and a dealer’s area, and each player is dealt two cards. The player and banker hands are then compared and whichever one is closest to nine wins the round. There are also a number of different wagers that you can place, including the ‘Banker’ bet, the ‘Player’ bet, and the ‘Tie’ bet.

Generally, you have better odds of winning by backing the banker than the player, as the banker has to draw a third card if his or her total is less than nine. However, most casinos will charge a small commission on winning bets on the banker (around 5%). This is why you should look for a casino that does not apply this fee to your winning bets on the banker.

In the game, the first step is to understand the values of each card. Picture cards and Tens are worth 0 points, while cards numbered from 2 to 9 have their face value and the Ace is worth one point. When the total of a player’s or banker’s hand crosses nine or enters double digits, the second digit becomes the total point value.

There are as many as five standard baccarat trends that you can track, but the ones that are easiest to follow are the Big Road, Bead Plate and Cockroach Road. The latter, which was first explained in our Jul/Aug 2011 issue – with Part 2 followed in Sep/Oct – is particularly important, as it lets you know when to back the banker.

If you are looking for a more conservative strategy, try the Paroli system, which is similar to the Martingale but instead of doubling your bet after every win you only double it after each loss. This is because you are essentially betting on the fact that you will lose at some point, so you want to minimise your losses as much as possible. This can be a very effective strategy, but you should always remember to stick with short sessions. The house edge will catch up to you sooner or later, and the longer you play the more likely you are to make a large loss.